After our one month trip to Myanmar and almost one year around Asia we’ve decided to visit Laos too. We didn’t know much about it and we landed in Vientiane with an open heart and mind.
The plan was to spend one month in Laos before heading to our next destination, South Korea. However, some things happened along the way that made us take the decision to shorten our trip to Laos to a little bit over one week. To find out more about our decision, click here.
Now, let’s get back to Vientiane. It’s not ugly nor beautiful. It’s not boring nor interesting. Everything about this city is average. You can’t really hate it but you can’t love it either. One thing is certain: don’t expect too much from Vientiane, especially if you’ve traveled around Asia before.
For my one day itinerary to Vientiane, click here.
Although it’s the capital city of Laos, Vientiane lacks the wow factor. The city feels more like a village and even though you’re looking for a more laid-back destination, you’ll still be disappointed by what the city has to offer in terms of tourist attractions.
Is Vientiane worth visiting? Let’s find out the answer!
1. How many days to spend in Vientiane?
As I’ve already said, there’s not much to see in Vientiane. Moreover, all the major tourist attractions are located in the central area of the city so visiting them one after the other is quite easy.
In my opinion, one day is more than enough to explore this city (check out my itinerary). One day in Vientiane is enough to get a glimpse of the city’s vibe before heading deeper inside the country. However, if you are a slow traveler, I recommend staying 2 days.
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2. What to visit in Vientiane?
There are a few interesting temples to visit around the city such as Sisaket Temple which is the oldest wat in Vientiane and it houses over 2,000 ceramic and silver Buddha images.
Just a short walk away from this temple sits Haw Phra Kaew. The temple was originally built in 1565 but it has been rebuilt many times since then. The statues outside this temple are quite impressive. I liked walking around this temple and admiring its architecture.
Take another 15 minutes walk and you will get to the Patuxay Monument. This war monument was built between 1957 and 1968 and is also called the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.
Probably the most popular tourist attraction in Vientiane is the Pha That Luang. This was actually my favorite attraction in the city as the temple is really well preserved. The 44 meter tall golden stupa is surrounded by several other temples, shrines and statues.
There is a big golden reclining Buddha in one of the gardens which you can’t miss (the biggest reclining Buddha in the world is situated in Myanmar and it has 180 meter –click here to read more about it).
3. Is Vientiane worth it?
I think the right answer is: it depends. If you are staying just one day and it’s one of your first trips to Asia, you might enjoy it. You can visit the temples, enjoy the local food and get a taste of the local life.
However, if you’ve already traveled extensively around Asia, you might find Vientiane a little bit dull. There’s nothing spectacular about it, the temples are average-looking compared with the ones in Thailand or Myanmar and there’s really not much to do.
4. Where to stay in Vientiane
There are many accommodation options around the city to choose from. I did my best and found the best options for each budget. See my recommendations below.
- Budget – S 2 Modern Boutique Hotel – good location, superb pool, new building, friendly staff, clean rooms
- Mid-budget – Le Thatluang D’oR a Boutique – beautiful architecture, good location, excellent staff, clean and spacious rooms
- Luxury – Crowne Plaza Vientiane – good location, excellent service, superb pool, spacious and luxurious rooms
I think that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I wasn’t charmed by Vientiane but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you wouldn’t like it. If you’re traveling to Asia for the first time and Vientiane is your first destination, you might actually like it.
Let me know your thoughts about Vientiane in the comments section below. Also, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me.
May the travel bug bite you!